Histone demethylases and their roles in cancer epigenetics

J Med Oncol Ther. 2016;1(2):34-40.


The genetic abnormalities that drive tumorigenesis are usually coupled with epigenetic alterations, such as DNA methylation and aberrant histone modifications, which may help oncogenic drivers accelerate cancer progression, metastasis, and therapy resistance. The discovery of histone demethylases has provided us new insight for understanding the epigenetic landscape of the chromatin environment of cancer cells. This review aims to summarize the current knowledge on the human histone lysine demethylases and their functions in cancers, and recent advances in development of small molecule inhibitors to target histone demethylases in cancer treatment.

Keywords: Cancer; Epigenetics; Histone demethylase.